British Online Archives are pleased to announce the iteration of our collection, The Collapse of the Ottoman Empire and the Partition of the Middle East, 1879-1919. Drawn from the personal papers of British diplomat and military officer Mark Sykes, this collection sheds light on a crucial period in the geopolitical history of the Middle East. Born into an aristocratic background, Sykes first served as an assistant to the famous Lord Kitchener during the First World War. His career progression saw him go on to work as a high level diplomat, immortalised for his role in the Sykes-Picot Agreement, which carved up Ottoman territories in the face of it’s impending collapse. He also played a major role in the Balfour Declaration, in which the British government first established support for a Jewish homeland in the Middle East.
As part of our ongoing iteration process, the collection has received new landing page images, new insights, and new highlights. The new highlights demonstrate the best of the collection, featuring documents which cover Sykes’ pre-war travels across the Ottoman Empire, official War Cabinet discussions and reports on the complex ongoing political situation in the Middle East, as well as discussions of rising tensions between ethnic and religious groups in Palestine.